Everton ensured Manchester City remained top of the Premier League as they produced a battling performance to hold Liverpool to a goalless draw at Goodison Park.
Liverpool needed victory to leapfrog City after their win at Bournemouth but Jurgen Klopp’s side lacked the cutting edge to break the deadlock in a tense Merseyside derby.
Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, the villain when Divock Origi scored Liverpool’s 96th-minute winner at Anfield in December, was the hero with a brilliant first-half save from Mohamed Salah, who was denied by a superb last-ditch challenge from Michael Keane after the break.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was rarely troubled apart from a diving save from Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header and while the title chasers created the better opportunities, they were frustrated – as they were against Manchester United at Old Trafford a week ago.
Manchester City now stand a point clear with nine games remaining, while Everton stay 10th.
Everton followed Manchester United’s lead in simply refusing to let Liverpool’s much-vaunted attack pass.
Klopp’s side created more opportunities and looked the more likely winners but the cutting edge was missing, with Salah the main culprit.
The Egyptian looked back to his best in Liverpool’s 5-0 win against Watford on Wednesday but here he was short of his best, denied by Pickford in the first half and then hesitating just long enough to allow Keane to make that outstanding late intervention.
Liverpool created a few scrambles to play on Goodison Park’s nerves as the seconds ticked down but they could not make the breakthrough they needed.
Manager Klopp looked happy enough at the final whistle but Liverpool were pressed into mistakes with misplaced passes and too many attacks just fizzling out.
They are right in this title hunt but this was a long way from their best and it is the first time since 7 December that they have not been top of the table having played the same number of games as Manchester City.